Why We Talk: The Evolutionary Origins of Language

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Constant exchange of information is integral to our societies. Jean-Louis Dessalles explores how this came into being. He develops a view of language as an instrument for conversation rather than mental representation and thought. Presenting language evolution as a natural history of conversation, the author sheds light on the emergence of communication in the hominine congregations, as well as on the human nature.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Jean-Louis Dessalles is Associate Professor at the École Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications, Paris, where he organized the Third International Conference on the Evolution of Language in 2000. He is author of L'ordinateur génétiqu, and Aux Origines du langage, both were published by Hermès-Science. He has published numerous articles in English and French on cognitive science, computer-assisted learning, communication, and language evolution.
James Grieve is an Emeritus Reader at The Australian National University, Canberra. He has translated works in language and linguistics, Lacour-Gayet's Histoire de l'Australie, and two parts of Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu. He has published a Dictionary of Contemporary French Connectors and two novels for Young Adults

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Table of Contents

Part I Language in the Human History
1. Animal and Human Communication
2. Culture, Languages, and Language
3. The Biological Roots of Language
4. What the Origins of Language Were Not
5. Language as an Evolutionary Curiosity
6. The Local Optimality of Language
Part II The Anatomy of Speech
7. Putting Sounds Together
8. Protolanguage
9. The Mechanics of Syntax
10. Syntax and Meaning
11. The Structure of Meanings
12. The Emergence of Meaning
Part III The Ethology of Language
13. Conversation Behaviour
14. Language as Information
15. The Birth of Argumentation
16. An Evolutionary Paradox
17. The Political Origins of Language
18. Epilogue

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